Christmas and New Years were fantastic at Horse Haven at Bear Creek. Donnell decked the halls, all the horses had stockings full of treats, and the fireworks at midnight New Year’s Eve were not too disturbing.001 Marissa brought in a plate of yummy Christmas cookies, as did Anna, and Judy brought in an assortment of chocolate covered fruits that were happily devoured by everyone in the place. It was a festive time and even though people had other commitments outside the barn, still almost everybody found time to come out and help keep the horses happy, groomed and entertained. We are particularly grateful to Sammy and Jarred for working Christmas Day, and to our most excellent hired hand, Hillary, who worked Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, giving the rest of us a couple extra days off.

I keep thinking that at some point things are going to slow down at the ranch. First I thought the wet fall and cold winter weather were going to keep people away – but that didn’t happen. Then I thought the holidays would find people too busy to come out – but that didn’t happen. Then I thought the cold and flu season would have people staying indoors – but that didn’t happen either. When am I finally going to just accept that we have highly motivated and dedicated herd members? It isn’t a fluke. These people are for real! Maybe I’ll figure that out in January :-).

Greg daughter2Since you last heard from us, we have had a new person join in the Horsemanship Program. Her name is Eilene and she is helping us pilot this program by being the first to go through it. Jarred has also volunteered to be a test pilot for the program, willingly going back to the basics to improve his fundamentals and our program. Welcome Eilene, and thank you Jarred.

By way of our extended friends and family, we have had several younger visitors to the ranch over the past six months. Some of the kidlets are very interested in the horses, some just like the sound of their own feet running down the barn aisle, some think that the hayloft is a version of paradise. All of our small guests add a little something to the environment while they are here, and we are happy to be the place they first learn about horses. On Saturday my friend Greg brought his 15 month old daughter Lila out to see horses for the first time. She’s a bold little girl, basically fearless, and she merrily traipsedGreg daughter around the property, climbing dirt hills and stomping through mud and puddles. She demonstrated how to take maximum advantage of what HHABC has to offer. I was very impressed. She was less impressed with our horses than we were with her though. She gave them a few pets, but not much more attention than that. Until I took her for a ride on Briana. That got her attention. Her dad handed her up to me and she leaned back against me with her arms resting on my arms, like I was her own personal Barcalounger. She snuggled back into her seat and off we w

Rangerent and that is when the smiles really came out. Briana was an excellent mount, only a little bit confused by the presence of an extra very tiny bottom resting on her withers. Lila acted like she’d done this a million times, totally relaxed and surveying her lands and people from her lofty position on her noble steed. It was so freakin’ cute!

Tis the season to be charmed by Christmas stocking surprises, holiday treasures, festive lights, tiny guests and tolerant horses. I can’t imagine how the season could have come and gone more smoothly or with better cheer and good will. As I so often am, I find myself again filled with gratitude for this unfolding adventure that is The Urban Herd.